2012 Arizona Diamondbacks season in review: Grading each position

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In regular school fashion, we grade each position on the Diamondbacks for their 2012 season.

Our series of going back through the 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks season, we now move on to how each position fared for the team. Let us look back.

Starting pitchers:

Grade: C

As a collective group, the starters were a mediocre 64-61 on the year with a 4.26 ERA. It sort of epitomized the season. The staff ace was not Ian Kennedy or Daniel Hudson, but rather Wade Miley, who finished 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA. He was the indisputable bright spot.

Ian Kennedy, who was 21-4 in 2011, pitched well down the stretch to finish 15-12, but his ERA was 4.02. He was inconsistent for most of the year and it was not what you would hope from your number one.

Newcomer Trevor Cahill was equally ok. At 13-12 with a 3.78 ERA, he certainly wasn't bad, but he would consistently have one trouble inning that would put his team in bad spots.

Daniel Hudson's season was a disappointment, but that is because of injury. Twice he went on the disabled list and ended up needing Tommy John surgery for his pitching elbow. Losing him meant leaning on the young pitching prospects.

Patrick Corbin, Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs all saw time in the rotation, with Corbin seeing the most time and being the most effective in the big leagues. All showed promise, but were definitely young pitchers.

Josh Colllmenter was terrible to start the season as a starter, dominated in relief and then pitched very well in the rotation again.

Looking ahead to next year, with Kennedy, Cahill and Miley set for the rotation and Hudson to join later in the year, there will be two spots that will be filled by the young guys, making spring training an interesting watch to see if it is Corbin, Bauer, Collmenter or Skaggs that step up.

Relief pitchers:

Grade: B

As a group, they had a very respectable 3.28 ERA and 39 saves. Several pitchers were very, very good. Closer J.J. Putz struggled early, was nearly unhittable and then stumbled a bit late. David Hernandez finished with a 2.50 ERA and, except for about six of his 72 appearances, was dominant. Brad Ziegler had a historic year with giving up ground balls. He was called upon and inherited 54 runners, allowing only 11 to score.

However, they were unable to get consistent play from lefties. Jon Patterson was up briefly and was terrible. Mike Zagurski had moments, but was a train wreck in many other instances.

Long relief was a huge strength. It started with Wade Miley, then continued with Josh Collmenter and Patrick Corbin. When they were called upon, scoreless innings usually followed.

Overall, the bullpen was deeper from top to bottom, but there could have been some improvements. One of the biggest disappointments was Takashi Saito, who only managed to appear in 16 games due to an array of injuries and illnesses.

1st base:

Grade: A

First base was a bright spot, but it was Paul Goldschmidt. Goldie was nails with the glove, batted .286, hit 20 homers, 43 doubles and drove in 82 runs.

Early in the season, Lyle Overbay was a great backup, but after batting over .300 for the first month, he struggled and finished his time in Arizona with only two hits in 26 at bats.

Once he was released, Goldschmidt played almost every day, with Ryan Wheeler backing him up and Mike Jacobs late. Collectively, the team hit .293.

2nd base:

Grade: A

Another position of strength was second base, and it was Aaron Hill that did it all. Hill had as good a year as you will see from the position. He doubled 44 times, homered 26 times and batted .302. He hit for the cycle TWICE! he was solid in the field, playing in 156 games. There is nothing you can say he didn't do this season. He is a leader and give real effort. Hill was a perfect fit in Arizona.

Shortstop:

Grade: C-

This is a position that must be improved in the offseason. If Willie Bloomquist had stayed healthy all season, it would have been different. He had another great offensive season, batting .302, but played one game after August 8. Stephen Drew, John McDonald and other filled the void otherwise. Drew was traded, McDonald was great in the field and hit very well to start the year, but his offense ended up where you would expect, with his batting average ending at .249.

Third base:

Grade: F

This position was a mess. The team used Ryan Roberts, Josh Bell, Cody Ransom, John McDonald, Chris Johnson, Ryan Wheeler and Bloomquist at third this year. The collective batting average? .239. Chris Johnson had a superb start when he first joined the team and hit decently well, but was not as good in the field. He and Wheeler played down the stretch, but neither elicited enough confidence to make the team feel like they don't need to address the position.

Outfield

Grade: C+

Justin Upton ended his year solid, Jason Kubel was dreadful down the stretch and Chris Young never got on track after his injury early in the season.

Despite being called an enigma by Ken Kendrick and having his power numbers down, Upton finished hitting .280 and scoring 107 runs, good for second in the league.

Kubel hit 30 home runs, but his batting average, which hovered around .300 around the All-Star break, fell to .253 by season's end.

Gerardo Parra was great in the field, but batted only .273 with an OPS of .727.

Chris Young? After hitting the cover off the ball, batting over .400 with five homers and 16 RBI to start the year, his injury got him off track and he never got back on track. He finished at .231 and with a leg injury saw his playing time go to Adam Eaton, who the team feels is the future.

Youngsters Adam Eaton and A.J. Pollock saw time, batting .259 and .247. Both played very well in the field and will see time in the majors in 2013, either here or elsewhere.

Catcher:

Grade: A

Miguel Montero was one of the game's best. He hit .286, drove in 88 runs to lead the team, he homered 15 times and he was great behind the plate. He threw out almost 42 percent of runners trying to steal. He blocks ball well and calls a great game. He is a team leader. He played 141 games.

Henry Blanco was behind him until he injured his thumb. Blanco was almost an automatic out on offense, but he is good behind the plate. Wil Nieves, who came to the team after Blanco went down, was very good, batting .306 in 16 games. It may have earned him a spot on the team next season.

Overall:

Grade: C

Weighted with expectations: D

At 81-81, it is the definition of average. However, the issue was that many were picking them to come out of the National League for the World Series. The team just never got it together. It wasn't a bad year, but it was disappointing. The good news is that 2013 looks promising.

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